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To ask how you split childcare if you and your partner both work?

(134 Posts)
MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:08:28

Long, tedious story short, my husband and I are both teachers. We work in different schools. I am a middle manager so have two areas of responsibility and a team of 8 to manage, in addition to being a class teacher, dh is a class teacher, however he works in primary so does have a fairly heavy workload too. We both work f/t. Currently, dh takes our dd (2) to nursery on two mornings and picks her up 2 evenings. I take her three mornings and pick her up two evenings. The 5th evening is split between us depending on when we have meetings etc. DD has to be picked up by 3.45. We are on a school hours contract with the nursery and would have to pay extra for her to stay later (which we cant afford). Anyway, we seem to have a re-occurring situation where dh complains that he is getting behind on work or people are commenting that he is leaving early during the week - I should point out that most weeks he stays late three nights a week and I leave 'early' three nights a week to pick dd up. I have tried my best to make it fair, I do more pick ups and drop offs than he does but cannot lose the two nights I stay behind because I have to cram in all of my meetings and extra curricular into those times. On the face of it, he gets the better deal despite a lighter workload, but makes me feel like I am being unreasonable because I get cross when he starts complaining about doing too many of the pick ups. We both have to work in the evenings in order to make the situation work, but I am happy to do it because it means that we do get to spend some time with dd (she goes to bed at 6.30 - if we picked her up any later we'd never see her). My question is this: is my husband hard done by in having to do an almost equal share of the childcare? Family members have made comments in the past about how when their children were little the man wasn't expected to do any of the childcare because he was busy working, and if he was the only one who worked I would agree. However, the fact that I am the main earner seems to fall on deaf ears. I feel a bit like I am being made to feel like a battleaxe for insisting that we share childcare and household chores, but I just cant do everything.

Wuldric Sat 02-Nov-13 18:49:24

Family members have made comments in the past about how when their children were little the man wasn't expected to do any of the childcare because he was busy working

Wrong family mate. Absolutely ridiculous behaviour. Do not stand for it.

MamaBear17 Sat 02-Nov-13 19:16:33

Thanks again to all who have responded. Just to clarify - I think I already said it somewhere in here before - it is NOT my husband's team who have commented. He works in KS2, It is teachers from foundation stage that have made comments. The two teachers in his team, the head of key stage and the head of the school are fine with our arrangement.DH double checked with his team and they basically said as long as he pulls his weight, which he does, they don't care what he does. The two people who commented do not work directly with my husband, so are not affected by our childcare arrangements and, imo, shouldn't be commenting.
As for my family, I know they are being U. It undermines my confidence at times but I do try to ignore them.

lade Sat 02-Nov-13 19:21:56

I'm a teacher, and I would suggest that your DH took your child to work three mornings and picked up two afternoons, and you dropped off two mornings, and pick up three afternoons. You could then get in early on those three mornings.

In my experience, it is easier at secondary to do more of your work at home. If you managed your days, you could follow leaving early by getting in early the next day, so that would allow you to prepare for that day.

Also, I find that if you have fixed days that you leave early, colleagues know when to find you, when you're not around... They find it easier to manage / work with.

I often leave straight from work, but my colleagues know my 'late' days and work around that (I have responsibility too). When other people know the score, it's easier for them to know when you're going to be around / not available etc.

And ignore family / other comments.

Objection Sat 02-Nov-13 19:39:03


You say you can't afford childcare - not even a couple of hours at a childminder? Maybe two afternoons a week at a childminder may help?

I don't know where you live but CMs round my area charge between £4-6 per child per hour. So maybe £20 odd a week?

ThePitOfStupid Sat 02-Nov-13 19:55:27

Lade, that pretty much is what they are doing, except day 5 is switched depending on who has meetings, which most weeks is DH.

lade Sat 02-Nov-13 21:35:39

I thought at present, he mostly did the three evenings.

I was proposing, she always did the three evenings, fixing them to set days, the OP moving extra curricular to a lunch time (being voluntary, she can do it when she likes, I always did / do mine during the lunch hour), leaving two after schools for meetings (although, aren't we only supposed to have to do one a week? Or has that changed??). Plus, the crucial part: making the hours clear to bosses / colleagues. This, I cannot stress enough is very important in having supportive colleagues.

Every school I have ever worked in have had set 'meeting days' for after school meetings, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to stick to these / lunch time meetings.

Xmasbaby11 Sat 02-Nov-13 21:56:20

DH and I both work full time and split nursery runs about 50/50. I'd say you are doing amazingly well to pick DD up between you at 3.45 every day. Since it is obviously causing problems, I'd extend the nursery hours for one day a week. I think it's expecting a lot for either/both of you to leave so early several times a week. I have many teacher friends with young children and none of them leave work before 5 (and they then work in the evening), so I can imagine it's not the norm to rush off.

EST0106 Sat 02-Nov-13 22:26:17

DH and I both work full time. He does all pick up and drop offs, a) because he nursery is next to his work and the opposite direction for me, b) because I condense my hours into 4 days so subsequently work longer days mon to thurs so I can have Fridays off.
He works 8.30 until 5.30pm so they don't get home until 6pm, and she's in bed for 7. You a very lucky to be able to pick up so early, that's the middle of the afternoon!! I'm sure you'll make it work, and be happy at how fortunate you are, and I say that in a nice way, you are lucky!!

Loopytiles Sat 02-Nov-13 22:49:59

Yanbu to want your dh to share the care, but yabu to want to both work FT but one of you to collect dd so early 5 days a week, unrealistic for work.

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